Walking through the entry hall of this local library in São Paulo, most people don’t take notice of the permanent exhibition of vintage marionettes housed in glass cabinets along an unassuming side corridor.
The Biblioteca Infantojuvenil Monteiro Lobato (Monteiro Lobato Children and Youth Library) is the oldest of a number of public libraries targeted toward children and teenagers. It is known for organizing various community activities, which at one time included puppet shows.
In the late 1970s the library was the home of a children’s puppet theater, where a celebrated group of puppeteers frequently put on shows. The troupe comprised of a wide array of beautifully crafted dolls, including the Brazilian samba singer Carmen Miranda, Brazilian music group Bando da Lua, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, and many dancers and animals.
Called the Teatro Infantil de Bonecos das Bibliotecas Infantis Municipais (Children’s Puppet Theater of the Children’s Municipal Libraries), or “TIBBIM,” the group was founded in 1977, but its roots go back as far as 1956. The shows were so popular the group was asked to perform at schools, hospitals, and nurseries around the area. It even offered classes in how to made the dolls, as well as costumes, and scenery.
It performed continuously until 1990, when it was abandoned due to lack of funding. Forgotten by society at large, dozens of the puppets used by the group are now preserved and exhibited at their former home.
Know Before You Go
Easily reachable by foot from metro stations Santa Cecília, Anhangabaú, República (on the red line) and Higienópolis-Mackenzie (on the yellow line).